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Saturday, April 13, 2013
April 13, 2013 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 4:47 PM :: 5137 Views

After Deadly Train Wreck, DC Metro Dumps Honolulu Rail Contractor Ansaldo

OHA Launches Website to Coordinate Shakedown Operations

House Republican Budget Update

“Let ‘Em Eat Cake” Comes to Hawaii

Fuel Supplier Lobbies Congress Against Jones Act

Lemonade From Cuts to State Prison Spending

Conference Committee to Reconvene April 15 at 9:30AM

Leilehua, Baldwin, Kalani High Schools Finish FIRST in State Robotics Competition

From the Grave: Inouye Money Flows to Hanabusa

CB: According to the latest campaign finance filings, Rep. Colleen Hanabusa and Sen. Mazie Hirono each received $10,000 from DANPAC. Inouye's PAC had roughly $50,000 in unspent funds when he died. Inouye's main campaign account had more than a quarter-million dollars.

The Federal Election Commission has specific rules about how leftover funds can be used. The officers of Inouye's campaign committee ultimately decide how to distribute the money to other candidates, PACs or charities.

The PAC didn’t report contributing to Sen. Brian Schatz….

The PAC contribution limit is $5,000 per election, so DANPAC gave Hirono $5,000 for the 2018 primary and another $5,000 for the 2018 general election. The PAC gave Hanabusa $5,000 each for the 2014 primary and general elections.

Meantime, Roll Call’s money and politics blog, MoneyLine, has been keeping a tally of PAC contributions to freshmen in Congress. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard ranks 56th (of 88) on the list, having received $13,000 from PACs.

According to MoneyLine, Gabbard’s PAC contributions thus far include:

  • American Airlines Political Action Committee, 1/7/2013, $1,000;
  • American Federation Of Government Employees Political Action Committee, 2/7/2013, $1,500;
  • American Federation Of State County & Municipal Employees, 2/6/2013, $2,500;
  • Atlas Air Worldwide Holdings, Inc Political Action Committee, 2/26/2013, $1,000;
  • NEA Fund For Children And Public Education, 2/12/2013, $1,000;
  • Raytheon Company Political Action Committtee, 2/22/2013, $1,000;
  • Sheet Metal Workers' International Association Political Action League, 2/8/2013, $2,500;
  • United Food & Commercial Workers International Union Active Ballot Club, 2/6/2013, $5,000

    read … Schatz Stiffed

    120 DHHL Loans Delinquent over 5 Years --owed $82M

    HNN: A draft audit reviewed by Hawaii News Now found as of June 2012, nearly 5,000 homesteaders were a month or more delinquent on $82 million, accounting for 14 percent of the agency's loans. …

    The draft audit found nearly 60 home land loan recipients were five to ten years behind on their payments and almost 60 more were delinquent ten or more years, with the longest delinquency at more than 22 years. (And who do they know?)

    The state auditor's office said, "The department's delinquent loans are increasing in number and amount, posing a solvency risk for the department." …

    About 45 percent of the delinquent loans are from East Hawaii, the audit said, where one DHHL loan officer admitted her loans were "out of control." …

    A department spokesman said the DHHL just turned in its responses to the audit April 10 and it cannot comment on the audit until it's finalized and released.

    The department receives income from leases of its available lands and from legislative appropriations.  Since 1995, the DHHL has received annual payments of $30 million to compensate the department for lands improperly conveyed before statehood in 1959.  Those annual payments continue for 20 years until 2015.

    The department's revenues for fiscal year 2011 totaled $61.1 million and its expenditures totaled $70 million.  

    "Without these settlement moneys, the last installment of which will be paid during the fiscal year ended on June 30, 2015, the department's expenditures would have exceeded its revenues," the draft audit said.

    As of June 2011, DHHL had about 9,200 beneficiary leases with a waiting list of nearly 26,000 applicants, the audit said.

    "Accountability for homestead loans is lacking at the commission and department levels, resulting in loans being administered in an imprudent fashion that favors delinquent lessees," the audit draft found.

    "We found that the commission, in an attempt to adhere to the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act goal of providing long-term tenancy, has thwarted collection or cancellation of chronically delinquent homestead leases,  allowing delinquent lessees to accumulate debt runs counter to the act's goal of enhancing economic self-sufficiency for Hawaiians.  It also ties up leases and staff resources to the detriment of beneficiaries who are still waiting for leases and undermines placing native Hawaiians on the land in a prompt and efficient manner, as envisioned by the act," the audit said.

    Related: Schatz, Hirono Tinker with Hawaiian Homelands Blood Quantum

    read … Hawaiian Home Lands owed $82 million in outstanding loans

    Elimination of ‘Vacant Positions’ Slush Funds Makes Budget More Transparent

    CB: …some of the seemingly mundane matters were actually a conscious decision to put more transparency in the budget.

    The committee announced a series of House-Senate agreements on items to give hundreds of thousands of dollars to jails throughout the state to pay for utility costs.

    This was an effort stemming from the House push to not fund vacant positions, which correctional facilities have relied on to pay electric and sewer bills that for years have exceeded what’s been budgeted.

    “Rather than have them have to hold positions vacant we wanted to actually add funds for utilities because all of the correctional facilities have been running a deficit in utilities for awhile,” Ige said.

    The House version of the budget eliminates almost 1,000 vacant positions, but the Senate version restored funding for these. This is one of the bigger issues that the conference committee will have to resolve in the coming weeks.

    The committee is set to reconvene at 9:30 a.m., Monday.

    read … Ige: Funding Jails’ High Electric Bills Makes Budget More Transparent

    Hawaii County Sham Budget Larded With 'Vacant Positions'

    “The bottom line is I think this whole budget is a sham,” she said out of frustration while addressing representatives of the Parks and Recreation Department.  Hamakua Councilwoman Valerie Poindexter, who was chairing the Finance Committee meeting, interrupted Wille, noting that she was out of step with the council’s rules of order and decorum.“I don’t want this to be an attack session,” she said.  “And, please watch your behavior or I’ll have to read the rules of decorum into the record.”  Wille then amended her comment to being “very disappointed” with the budget proposal, adding that the Parks and Recreation Department’s list of 80 unfilled positions is “unacceptable.”

    WHT: Funds sought for transit system

    read … Silenced for Telling Truth

    Coal Plant Re-Starts, Oahu Electric Rates Drop 7%

    SA: Oahu households can expect to see a decline in their April electrical bills due largely to the resumption of production at a coal-fired plant that provides the island's lowest-cost source of power, Hawaiian Electric Co. reported Friday.

    The bill for a household using 600 kilowatt-hours of electricity a month will fall to $203.11 in April, a $15.64 decline from March, according to HECO. The rate per kilowatt-hour will drop to 32.4 cents from 34.9 cents.

    Electricity prices on Oahu rose in February and March as the owner of the state's only coal-fired power plant shut it down for scheduled maintenance. The 180-megawatt plant operated by independent power producer AES Corp. has the capacity to provide about 15 percent of the island's peak electricity demand.

    HECO pays AES about 9 cents a kilowatt-hour compared with the 22 cents a kilowatt-hour it costs to generate power at the oil-burning plants that provide nearly 80 percent of HECO's electrical output.  The AES plant, which went online in 1992, burns coal imported from Indonesia.…. (Prolly because there are no Jones Act ships to haul coal from the Mainland or Alaska)

    Elsewhere in the state, electrical rates also will fall on Kauai this month but will rise on Hawaii island and in Maui County.

    Maui Electric Co. customers will see their rate rise to 37.2 cents per kilowatt-hour this month from 37 cents in February. The typical Maui bill will go up $1.44, to $232.16.

    Hawaii island's residential rate will rise to 39.9 cents a kilowatt-hour from last month's 39.7 cents. The typical bill will go up to $249.63 from $248.59.

    The rate on Kauai will fall to 42.4 cents a kilowatt-hour from 44.8 cents.

    Hawaii has the highest electrical rates in the nation. The statewide average of 37.9 cents a kilowatt-hour in January was more than triple the national average of 11.5 cents a kilowatt-hour….

    read … Coal Saves Money

    Homelessness: No Facilities for Elderly Mentally Ill

    SA: There are simply too many frail elders whose physical ailments have developed alongside or after a lifetime of mental illness for the network of licensed adult residential care homes (known as ARCHs) to handle. And the need to solve this problem is urgent, given that the numbers of clients needing care are only going to increase. The shortage is expected to compound quickly, as well….

    The best guess the state has is that about a third of the roughly 6,000 receiving continuing care from the state's Adult Mental Health Division are age 55 and up. …

    There's no expectation that an institutional solution to the crisis is in the offing, either. The shortage of beds in nursing homes is chronic. And a project to construct a 150-bed skilled nursing facility on Hawaii State Hospital grounds, to be financed and built by the Utah-based Avalon Health Care Management Inc., has languished in the planning stages for several years….

    The state Department of Health is taking steps to address the situation, but they are not yet equal to the task. In May the department will conduct one of its annual training classes on the care of residents with persistent, severe mental illness. For the first time it will be open to all care home operators instead of only those with E-ARCH licenses.

    Janice Okubo, state Department of Health spokeswoman, said the training is intended as an orientation to the issues for regular care home operators, who would have to get the expanded license before taking in referral residents with mental illness. Currently there are only 36 such facilities that can take senior citizens discharged from the state hospital.

    read … Homelessness

    State set to offload affordable housing

    SA: The state plans to sell two affordable rental housing projects that have been a financial drain and a management pain.

    Kekuilani Gardens, a 56-unit complex in Kapolei, and Nani o Puna, a 32-unit complex in Pahoa on Hawaii island, would be sold to a private developer under a bid tentatively accepted this week by a state board.

    Board members of the Hawaii Housing Finance and Development Corp. voted Thursday to move ahead with a bid by Seattle-based Vitus Group to buy the two apartment complexes and lease the land under them from the agency for 75 years.

    Housing Finance has been working over the last few years to implement a strategy to sell its nine affordable-housing projects so it can concentrate on its core mission centered around helping private developers obtain loans, tax credits and state land to create new affordable housing.

    Kekuilani Gardens and Nani o Puna stand to be the first sales in that effort.

    read … Privatization

    Land board grants use permit for $1.3B Thirty Meter Telescope

    PBN: The Hawaii Board of Land and Natural Resources on Friday granted the University of Hawaii at Hilo a conservation district use permit for the $1.3 billion Thirty Meter Telescope, saying the university can add what will be one of the world's largest telescopes to the observatories on the summit of Mauna Kea….

    In its decision, the board also attached a number of conditions to the permit payoffs to protesters, such as requiring the Thirty Meter Telescope to pay a "substantial" amount for sublease rent to be used for the management of Mauna Kea and also pay $1 million a year for a "community benefits package" that will be administered through the Hawaii Island New Knowledge Fund board of advisers.

    The telescope's employees also will be required to take cultural and natural resources training and work with the Imiloa Astronomy Center and the Office of Mauna Kea Management to develop exhibits for visitors about the natural, cultural and archaeological resources at Mauna Kea, among other things.


    read … Telescope

    ‘Broken Windows’ Policing Comes to Waianae

    KHON: Although available to respond to all calls, officers assigned to this team are not “tied to their radios” meaning they are proactively looking for criminal activity in areas known for burglaries and drug deals.

    “Having these unannounced police officers going around and just showing up on the spare of the moment kind of keeps the criminals on their toes,” said Nicolas Hottendorf, Jr.

    “I could smell weed all the time when I’m walking down the street and stuff and yeah it’s been real productive,” said Griffin.

    The officers are also addressing quality of life crimes like drinking in public parks and illegal parking in neighborhoods.

    “They go out into the community right and then they see a lot of things happening but they don’t know it because nobody wants to call the police and get involved,” said Nicolas Hottendorf, Sr.

    According to police sources, last week the directed patrol unit made 35 warrant arrests, 6 felony drug arrests, 1 felony domestic violence arrest and one theft arrest. The team also issued 31 citations.

    “I think it also sends a message to the criminals that come to the Waianae coast thinking that we’re not watching them,” said Honolulu City Councilmember Kymberly Pine.  “We’re definitely watching you and don’t mess up our beaches and parks and our homes we’re not going to tolerate anymore.”

    Related: Manhattan Institute, The 'Broken Windows' Theory Worked in Juarez

    read … Broken Windows

    Geothermal Energy: Clean, safe, abundant

    HR: Hawaii has the most potential for renewable energy and yet we are 90 plus percent dependent on fossil fuels. Ironically,Hawaii is one of the biggest per capita polluting states thanks in part to the environmental extremists who have in the past opposed geo thermal.

    There have been erroneous claims that geothermal is fracking. Geothermal is not fracking.

    It is important to note that New Zealand get about 10 % of their nations energy cleanly and inexpensively from geo thermal., Our one 30 MW well at Puna has been operating for years despite the mindless opposition to it in the eighties.

    It has produced clean efficient energy for all these years.

    Yet unfounded opposition continues.

    The just say NO syndrome where the loudest and sometime most misinformed minority rules the day has thwarted many beneficial programs for Hawaii such as the Super Ferry and Geothermal. Please join me and reasonable people in supporting much need energy diversity including geo thermal.

    read … Fred Hemmings

    Former Hawaii Resident Now Runs Young Leaders Program in Washington DC

    HR: Schrader originally moved to the mainland to attend Patrick Henry College, a conservative school outside of the nation’s capital. Before joining The Heritage Foundation, Schrader worked with Star Parker at the Center for Urban Renewal and Education, an organization that addresses issues of race and poverty with principles of freedom and personal responsibility.

    Schrader currently works with Heritage’s Young Leaders Program, an initiative that promotes the conservative mission to the next generation through a variety of programs and opportunities for both students and young professionals.

    The internship program is one of the YLP’s major outlets for educating young conservatives. “I wish I knew about this opportunity when I was in school,” Schrader says. Known as one of the best internship opportunities in D.C., it accommodates more than 75 young conservative leaders of the highest caliber every spring, summer, and fall.

    read … Leadership

    SB586: State, Counties Oppose Relaxing Building Codes for Farm Sheds

    Senate Bill 586 aims to reduce time and costs for commercial farmers by allowing them to bypass the permitting process and certain building codes for structures like greenhouses, storage sheds, water tanks or other "low-risk" agricultural structures that are necessary for farm operations not in urban districts.

    In short, farmers would be able to build certain structures, which are specifically outlined in the bill, without having to wait or pay for building permits.

    "You're talking about small- and medium-sized farmers that can't afford the time or the expense to put up simple, low-risk structures to house or protect tools from weather or theft," said Warren Watanabe, executive director of the Maui County Farm Bureau.

    More than 30 other states already have similar exemptions in place for low-risk farm structures, he added.

    Bill opponents say these exemptions would jeopardize public health and safety.

    "Unregulated grading of building pads, roads, etc. can create significant environmental impacts when heavy rainfall occurs," state Department of Agriculture Chairman Russell Kokubun said in testimony.

    read … Repressing Small Business

    103 arrests, 53 convictions, 29 felonies

    MN: "No longer can I be doing these juvenile, childish things," he said in court Friday. "I'm asking for a chance. I believe in building better people, not better prisons."

    Second Circuit Judge Richard Bissen said he was "fascinated" by the family history Burns described to a probation officer who prepared a report for his sentencing. In the report, Burns said John A. Burns was his grand uncle.

    Asked by the judge how his childhood was influenced by the late Hawaii governor, Burns said: "He was an influence on my life because he loved and served the people of Hawaii. That's in me too.

    "It was very little time that I spent with him, but I always looked up to him. I saw him at a couple of family gatherings growing up as a child and I also read his book."

    Burns said he was born in 1976, but Bissen noted that Governor Burns died in April 1975.

    "He died before you were even born," Bissen told Burns. "You're lying about that like you're lying about everything else - like you did at trial."

    The judge said he called the late Governor Burns' son, retired state Intermediate Court of Appeals Chief Judge James Burns, to say his nephew would be in court to be sentenced.

    "He says, 'What nephew Nicholas?' '' Bissen said.

    The judge said Nicholas Burns told the probation officer that he would get a governor's pardon.

    "Whether you are or are not related to former Chief Judge Jim Burns or his father, former Governor Jack Burns, would make no difference one way or the other," Bissen told Nicholas Burns. "But the fact that you would lie does make a difference. You're not ready to come clean."

    The judge said Burns' criminal history includes 103 arrests and 53 convictions, including 29 for felony offenses.

    read … Soft on Crime

    California Suicide Seen as Opportunity to Promote Homosexuality in Hawaii Schools

    "I always imagine what if you were going into the school cafeteria, and you don't know which kids have seen these horrible pictures of you," said Marya Grambs, executive director of Mental Health America of Hawaii.

  • Solution: Turn more 14 year olds gay

    MAH: “Grow a Rainbow”

    read … An article which doesn’t mention anything about “Grow a Rainbow”


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